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Lightened Up Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

A perfect single serve size. Everyone can have their own mini cake in a cupcake form. These are so easy to prepare and come out moist and delicious. Enjoy every pineapple bite!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake mix, cupcakes, pineapple rings, pineapple upside down cake
Servings 8
Author Pam


  • 1 box yellow or golden cake mix
  • 1 full can plain seltzer, you can use flavored such as orange, lemon or pineapple
  • 1 tbsp pineapple juice or lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp baby food applesauce
  • 3 tbsp melted and cooled unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pineapple juice from can as needed


  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tbsp lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 8 pineapple rings packed in juice only, cut just a little to fit into large muffin tins (place between paper towels to dry off completely)
  • 8 maraschino cherries


  1. 1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray a large muffin cup pan with cooking spray. Either plain or with flour. Place on cookie sheet that has been lined with foil. Set aside until ready.

    2.In a large mixing bowl, add cake mix, whisk to make sure all lumps are gone. Add in baking powder and salt, mix again.

    3.Add in seltzer, juice, vanilla, and applesauce, and melted butter. Using a rubber spatula, mix until all is combined. Make sure you dig to the bottom of the bowl to get any remaining dry ingredients incorporated. If the batter is a little too thick, add some of the pineapple juice from the can one tablespoon at a time. Just until the batter is smooth, still thick but pourable. Kind of like pancake batter. Set aside while you make the glaze.

    4.Melt butter, let cool for a few minutes, add in brown sugar and mix well.

    5.Take about 2 tbps of glaze and add to the bottom of each cup. Then, add a pineapple ring with the one cherry. Do this with all 8 cups.

    6.Using a large ice cream scoop or small ladle, pour batter into 8 large muffin cups a little past 3/4 to the top. Gently place in oven.

    7.Bake for about 18 to 25 minutes or until tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean or with dry crumbs. Don’t poke toothpick to the bottom, just half way into the cupcake for accurate reading. You may need to put back in for a few more minutes. All ovens are different.

    8.Take out when done and let cool on wire rack for about 20 to 30 minutes. Take a butter knife and go around each cupcake to loosen any edges. Invert pan and tap a few times on the bottom of each cup right onto the cooling rack. They should all pop out perfectly! If you are missing a cherry, just replace it. Look how pretty they turned out! Enjoy the deliciousness!